I have detected a bit of envy in people when I tell them I can work from home from time to time. This might be because I live in Canada, and generally a commute in January, in Canada, can be rough.
And clearly I don’t need to commute. No, I roll out of bed some time around noon, pull on my warm and fuzzy housecoat and my favourite pair of bunny slippers, and cruise downstairs. There, I help myself to a fresh croissant, some hot coffee, and I retrieve the morning newspaper from the front step. With the sunlight streaming in the living room window, I peruse the day’s news and enjoy my breakfast.
After that, a nice sudsy bubble bath gets me ready for the day. I reach my desk around 3 p.m., put in a good three, maybe four hours work before I’m tapped out. A late, but gourmet dinner, and an evening reading by the fireplace ends my day.
My work at home day actually starts when I am jolted awake by my toddler, who has decided, at 6 a.m., to shout “EVERYBODY DANCE NOW!” indicating that she’s had enough of this lollygagging about. (C+C Music Factory has a *lot* to answer for.) Since she doesn’t come equipped with a snooze button, my response is to pull a pillow over my head; my husband staggergrumbles his way to the shower. I’d say I can’t wait for my daughter to get past this phase, except that I know that her next trick will be to sneak out of bed and tip her entire box of Lego out onto a hardwood floor.
At 5:30 a.m.
I know this, because we’ve got three other children, and tipped out Lego boxes have been the least of it over the years.
Anyway, then it’s my turn for a shower, while my husband looks after the nappy change, the PJ change, the tooth brushing and breakfast. We got into this routine when our first born was just a tiny baby; I believe we do this because I was the one up all night doing feedings, and it was only fair my shift ended at 6 a.m. My husband believes we do it this way because I’m not a morning person, and left to my own devices, I’d end up getting one of my kid’s teddy bears ready for the day and not know the difference.
After a breakfast of cold cereal and lukewarm tea, I grab my laptop to try and cram in as much work as I can do in an hour — the amount of time it takes to run one episode Sesame Street. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve answered queries from Southeast Asia to the sound of Cookie Monster chowing down on the letter of the day. Fortunately, my toddler is not easily distracted and I know I can count on her not to come over to my laptop and *SIHSM S BW E#(UG(DGPSS DG
My husband and I will spend the rest of the day fielding telephone calls and emails in between teddy bear picnics, homeschool lessons, house cleaning, mid-morning snacks, train games, lunch, colouring books, house cleaning, mid-afternoon snacks, walks to the park, dinner, and the all-Dr.Seuss-hour.
ME: Hello, Chandra speaking, how may I help you?
CLIENT: Yes I’d like to enquire about…
ME: No, that’s not yellow, sweetie, that’s red. Red crayon.
ME: Sorry, you were saying?
CLIENT: Yes, I’m interested in purchasing your…
ME: Don’t touch that!
CLIENT: I’m sorry??
ME: No, no, not you… carry on please! You want to purchase…?
CLIENT: Yes, that really expensive service you have, I’d like to buy that and…
ME: No! Get away from the phone or I’ll— beeeeeeeeep.
ME: Hello? Hello are you there?
Eight p.m. is bedtime — for the kids. For us it’s the start of our second shift, where we catch up on all the things we weren’t able to get done during the day. If we’re lucky, we’ll crawl into bed sometime around 2 a.m.
Don’t get me wrong — we deliberately set it up so we could work from home when necessary. I have to admit to enjoying a good laugh every time I wake up to snow, smug in the knowledge that I don’t have to scrape the car and take a snow-blower to the driveway just to get to the office.
It’s just… some days the idea of getting *out* to an office does have a certain appeal.
Perhaps if we installed a water cooler, just there. I’m sure we could count on our toddler not to…